It was the most awful terrorist attack in American history. September 11, 2001, when up to 3,000 innocent people lost their lives. Everybody knows where they were on that day and what they were doing. Everybody knows what was on their mind when they saw those pictures on TV. Steffen was actually in New York City that day, which is just another reason the day takes on special meaning for us.
Since 2014 the 9/11 memorial museum has been open to the public. For one week it was open for just family members of those who passed away and those who survived the attacks. A lot of people came but the negative voices became much louder in the US media.
The completion of the underground premises, which includes more than 108.000 ft² spread over 7 floors, was delayed by more than 3 years. The construction became much more expensive than expected and cost over 1 billion dollars. Many people claimed that the price of 24$ is unacceptable and that Ground Zero had now becomes a touristic attraction and the owners were using it just to turn a profit.
Honestly I had different feelings before I went to the museum – the strongest feeling being fear. I really don’t like the area around the memorial because it is always really depressing for me. On the other hand we wanted to be part of the few who were able to give their opinion about the museum.
As expected, the mere sight of the first exhibition piece brought back all my emotions about 9/11. The feelings of the day and the whole time after the terror attack: complete bewilderment! Two giant furcated steel beams, which were part of the outer skeleton of the twin towers remind you of what once was. They where completely torn to pieces when the Twin Towers collapsed and have been pieced together like a puzzle.
The instant I saw them- in front of my mind’s eye-the Twin Towers, which have shown the power financial strength of New York City I had to think about the tragic accident that saw them turned to dust.
In fast motion, as if I was put into a time machine, the museum brought me back to the 9/11. As we passed by a deformed Ladder Company 3 Truck of the NYC Fire Department, a charred elevator motor, one segment of radio and television antenna of the north tower, the little stone stairs, just called the survivor’s staircase, box columns, street signs, bikes and buggies which have stood near the WTC caught up in rubble – we were overwhelmed. At the same time we couldn’t help but be impressed by how much detail and respect was displayed throughout the museum.
A glass door takes you through to another museum inside of the 9/11 memorial museum. September 11, 2001 is the headline. Kids are not allowed in this part until the age of 10. After that just when accompanied by an adult. Behind the glass doors the museum tells the story of how the normalcy of a beautiful day was overtaken by shock as America came under attack. Pictures of the towers right before the attacks are shown. Excerpts from live coverage right before the first aircraft was directed into the first tower are shown – for us this was hard to watch because the brutality of the events was once again displayed in all of its details.
This part of the museum is also more personal – you will hear phone calls from those who were in the Twin Towers to their loved ones, listen to police radio recordings and see videos of firemen sitting in their trucks driving to the WTC. Every important minute of this morning is shown. Every time from the view of the people affected, from the people on the ground and in the towers, to those in the planes or the Pentagon. The timeline brings the visitors to reflect repeatedly, exploring the many questions and challenges of a post-9/11 world.
I must confess that I was not able to watch it all. It was too raw and emotional for me. What I really can say however, is that you get all the answers to your pending questions concerning 9/11. As I left this part of the museum I really had to take a deep breath to calm down. It became clear that this is not for the faint-hearted enough time to see all of the museum needed to be planed. One of the employees told me, that they have about 10.000 single items inside the museum.
A big part of the museum is dedicated to those who left us. A quiet, contemplative space where you can honour and learn more about the 2983 people killed in the September 11 tragedy. This part of the Museum is a small dark room, where you can take a seat and listen to 2983 stories, one for each individual who passed away.
Finally another very powerful part of the museum: the slurry wall. This 65 ft high wall blocked the water from the Hudson River to the WTC during and after its construction and survived the attacks. Seing a real part of this wall in the museum is a reminder of how much worse the attacks could have been if it wasnt for this amazing feat of eingineering.
Due to the popularity of the museum, it is a good idea to purchase your tickets in advance. You will find the best prices online.
Our conclusion: The museum is a true masterpiece. The visit is a very emotional experience and should definitely be a part of your trip to the Big Apple. Although there was a heated discussion about the museum: this part of the ground zero will make sure that September 11, 2001 will never be forgotten. I would not recommend a visit with children especially younger ones but this is a personal decision. For those who don’t want to pay 24 bucks for the entry: on Tuesday evenings the entrance is free.